Head to the Hills

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We’re very fortunate in Perth that we have some stunning hills and mountains in the local area, each with their own unique and breathtaking views. There are 28 Munros in our region, as well as many other smaller mountains and hills where you can get outside and enjoy the incredible Perthshire scenery that we’re blessed with.

While going out for a walk and heading to the hills may not seem like the most strenuous of exercises, you’d be surprised just how much it can benefit your physical and mental health. Whether you’re just starting out and are taking a stroll up Kinnoull or Moncreiffe Hill, or you’re tackling Perthshire’s highest Munro – Ben Lawers – it’s a nice way to enjoy exercise and get out for some fresh air.

If you’re looking to lose a bit of weight but you’re put off by the thought of running or cycling, then getting your walking boots on is a great alternative. Walking up hills and mountains is a great way to burn calories, which in turn will help you to lose weight. Just make sure you don’t undo the good work by pigging out on biscuits or crisps at the top! Studies have shown that regular hill-walking can significantly reduce the risk of developing chronic illnesses.

Studies have shown that regular hill-walking can significantly reduce the risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, asthma and certain cancers. The cardiovascular exercise will help to improve the performance of your heart, lungs and circulation, as well as reduce blood pressure.

You also work your leg muscles and lower body quite hard too. If going to the gym and doing endless amounts of squats sounds a bit mundane, then this may be a more fun way to work the same muscle groups. By the time you’re reaching the summit of Schiehallion or Ben Chonzie, you’ll definitely be feeling the burn in your legs!

The benefits aren’t just physical either. Getting out and walking in the hills is also proven to improve mental health and is often used to help treat depression. Being outside in nature is believed to help people to de-stress and relax, as well as keep them more focused. A study by the University of Stirling on the effects of walking on mental health found that getting out and walking was “an effective intervention on depression” and had similar health benefits to other more vigorous forms of exercise.

Ben Lawers - SummitIt also improves self-esteem and gives people a sense of achievement too. Getting to the summit is an accomplishment and it’s not a surprise that many people go on to become ‘Munro-baggers’ – walkers and climbers who aim to reach the summit of every Munro in Scotland.

Remember to dress warm and appropriately as the weather can change very quickly. Even in the summer months it can get chilly or visibility can become an issue. Most, if not all of the Munros in Perthshire are accessible in the winter months but it’s important to wear the correct footwear and have additional clothing and supplies with you just in case of any sudden bad weather!

So if you’re looking for a way to exercise your body as well as your mind, then hitting the hills around Perthshire could well be for you. Perhaps best of all, it’s free! No membership fees, no having to pay for a personal training session, it’s just a case of getting the walking boots on and setting off. All off the benefits of being in a gym doing those squats but with the fantastic, picturesque views – what’s not to love about that.

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